Category Archives: Before You Go

Staying Healthy in Thailand – MORE Things to Think About

Staying healthy while on the trip is a very high priority for students, faculty, family, friends …… really everyone. Being ill on a trip like this really is not very fun. So far, we have had few illnesses on this trip. And there are several things we can do to stay as healthy as we can, although sometimes, stuff happens.

Before you leave…..

There are a few things you can do before even getting on the plane to help keep you healthy. The most important thing you can do is make sure you have all your vaccinations. This was covered in another post in detail. Make sure you have the standard vaccinations (DTP, MMR, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, etc.), as well as typhoid. As recent measles outbreaks have shown, even standard vaccinations like MMR are important when traveling abroad. Continue reading Staying Healthy in Thailand – MORE Things to Think About

Staying Healthy in Thailand – Vaccinations

One of the nice things about travelling to Thailand is that you don’t need too many special vaccinations other than the ones that you SHOULD have already (MMR, Td, Hep A, Hep B, Varicella if you haven’t had chicken pox, and possibly meningococcus, especially if you live in  dorms).  Pay particular attention to make sure your tetanus-diptheria is up to date, as well as the Hep A and B series.  If you need the Hep A and Hep B, get started NOW as Hep B is a 4-6 month regimen.  Here is the CDC’s recommendations:

Continue reading Staying Healthy in Thailand – Vaccinations

Flight itinerary for 2019

We have a new set of flights this year so we will see how it goes. One perk is that we will get in earlier.

Here is the flight to Thailand, leaving on Sunday May 12, 2019

Alaska Airlines 3461 Lv  SLC at 8:00 am

(on Sunday May 12)

Arr SFO at  9:20 am
Hong Kong Airlines Limited 61 Lv SFO at 12:25 pm Arr HKG at 5:35 pm

(Monday)

Hong Kong Airlines Limited 779 Lv HKG at 8:35 pm Arr BKK at 10:50 pm

(Monday May 13)

Here is the return flight for the group on Sunday June 9, 2019

Hong Kong Airlines Limited 762 Lv BKK 4:40 am

(on Sunday June 9)

Arr HKG at 9:00 am
Hong Kong Airlines Limited 60 Lv HKG at 1:10 pm Arr SFO at 10:40 am

(same day)

Alaska Airlines 3450 Lv SFO at 4:45 pm Arr SLC at 7:45 pm

(on Sunday June 9)

More Details on Registration for May Term Thailand XI

Here are a few more details on registration for May Term Thailand XI for May 2019:

  • Registration for all students begins on Tuesday, October 30th at 7:30 AM. Registration will be online only.
  • IMPORTANT! If you have a registration hold for any reason (student accounts, library, etc.), you may not be able to register for any May Term trips! Please check your Self-Service account and make sure you don’t have a registration hold. If you do, please clear it and confirm that it’s clear prior to October 30th so you can register!
  • If the trip is full by the time you register,  you will automatically be placed on a wait list. I know it’s disappointing that you aren’t on the list, but there are always cancellations, so please put your name on the wait list.
  • To register successfully and reserve a spot on the trip, you MUST place a $300 deposit at the time of registration. This must be done online when you register for the trip. All major credit and debit cards are accepted. This deposit is nonrefundable (unless the trip is officially cancelled by the College due to lack of enrollment or other unforeseeable reasons). Please be ready with your credit card or debit card when you register on the 30th.
  • The registration deadline for all May Term trips is January 31, 2019.
  • The total trip cost for May Term Thailand XI is $4,400. This includes round trip airfare from SLC to Bangkok, all lodging, meals in Thailand, fees for guides, transportation within country, trip and event fees, travel insurance, and cell phones (or SIM cards) to use within Thailand along with initial amount of minutes. It does not include passport or visa costs (no visa is required, unless you plan on traveling after the official trip), vaccinations, meals at airports during transit, or optional outings. Spending money varies wildly depending on your spending habits and what you decide to buy, but around $200-300 is typical. You will want money to buy gifts and souvenirs, for optional outings in Chiang Mai and Ko Samet, snacks and food, and evening activities on your own (but not for dinner, which is included in the trip fee).
  • Final payment is due February 1, 2019. Your account at that point must be at $4,400.
  • Please note the dates for REQUIRED pretrip orientation sessions.
  • More details on registration, tuition, fees, and deadlines can be found on the Westminster College May Term Study Experience page.

Please note that this trip has traditionally filled very quickly. Last year, it filled VERY quickly. If you are planning on going, I strongly suggest you register as early as possible. If you cannot register for May Term Thailand XI, and you have one or more years left before graduation, May Term Thailand XII for May 2020 has already been approved, and we will for certain be going again!

May Term Thailand FAQs

DSCF0191Family and friends of May Term Thailand participants have asked us many questions about this trip. Questions such as what we’re going to do, how we’re going to stay safe and healthy, and why we’re going to Thailand are some of what is asked of me. These are very important questions for friends and family, knowing that we’re going so far away to a country that is so different. So to answer some of these questions, I have compiled a little FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) post here. If you have any further questions, please feel free to comment on this post, and I can answer those questions as well.

What is the purpose of this course? Why do we do this?

Continue reading May Term Thailand FAQs

Registration for May Term Thailand XI

May Term Thailand XI will be from May 12, 2019 to June 9, 2019. These dates are still tentative, and may chance by +/- 1 day.

Registration will begin the morning of Tuesday, October 30th, at 7:30 am. The registration process will be slightly different this year. The link for registration will come online at 7:30 Tuesday morning (not before), and the link will be:

It will be an online registration, first come, first served. The $300 deposit MUST be entered using a credit card WHEN you register. The deposit is what will save your spot on the trip, so make sure you are prepared to enter the credit card number when you register. The remainder of the trip fee will be due on February 1, 2019. Last year, the trip filled very quickly, so if you want to go, please make sure you register as soon as you can! Further details can be found on the Westminster College May Term Study Experience page.

The trip fee this year will be $4,400, and this includes roundtrip airfare from Salt Lake City to Bangkok, Thailand, all in-country travel, all lodging, all meals while in Thailand (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), and all admissions and trip fees. It does not include spending money for souvenirs or snacks, cost of immunizations, passport fees, visa fees (if you are staying afterwards), food at airports during the flight to and from Salt Lake City, or fees for optional activities.

Important Things to Remember Before Departure – 2018

Here are some miscellaneous important things to remember before departure:

I think that’s it for now. If you have any questions or comments, please call me, email me, or stop by my office. See you on Monday!

How to Start a WordPress.com Account

For your pre-trip research blog post and your trip report blog post, you will need a WordPress.com account to post on this blog. Here is a quick video on how to do that. I will send you email invitations. If you don’t get one, please let me know and I will send it to you again.

Remember, you don’t need to create a blog (WordPress.com will ask), you only need an account.

Powering all your electronics in Thailand

As you probably guessed, electrical standards abroad are different. The US uses 120v/60Hz. Thailand uses 220v/50Hz. That means if you plug an appliance that is set for 120v/60Hz into an outlet in Thailand, there will probably be lots of sparks and smoke, and possibly some charred flesh. I did this once in Uganda, and the resulting smoke and sparks were entertaining, if not expensive.

Now, this doesn’t mean that your US electronics won’t work abroad.  Most modern electronics are dual- or multi-voltage, meaning it will work at 120v or 220v.  Check the label on the power supply to make sure, but all of my electronics, including my MacBook Pro, Fujifilms digital camera battery charger, iPhone/iPad charger, cell phone charger, and my son’s Nintendo DS power adapter are multi-voltage.  Typical multi-voltage label looks like these:

If it is dual voltage, it will say something like INPUT: 100v-240v, 50-60Hz or AC IN: 100v-240v, 50-60Hz.

Continue reading Powering all your electronics in Thailand

Tentative Itinerary for May Term Thailand X

Here is the tentative itinerary for May Term Thailand X. Please note that this is subject to change.

Date Activity

Notes

May 14 Depart SLC, UT for Bangkok, Thailand  Flight information can be found here.
May 15 In Transit
May 16 Arrive in Bangkok (very early morning)

Orientation and information session

Welcome Dinner

Hotel: Marvel Hotel, Bangkok (2 nights)
May 17 Depart Bangkok for Buriram

Arrive in Buriram

Educational tour of Bamboo School

Hotel: Cabbages & Condoms Resort, Buriram (2 nights)
May 18 Visit village development projects

Tour of Phanom Rung Historical Park

May 19 Depart Buriram

Arrive in Kalasin

Welcoming ceremony

Kalasin lodgings will consist of homestays within the village in local homes. Homes vary from very traditional Thai to modern Thai homes. All homes were screened and selected and most have been used the last seven years. (5 nights)
May 20 Village project and activities
May 21 Village project and activities
May 22 Village project and activities
May 23 Village project and activities
May 24 Depart Kalasin for Sukhothai

Arrive in Sukhothai

Hotel: Le Charme Sukhothai Resort, Sukhothai (1 night)
May 25 Sightseeing at Sukhothai Historical Park

Depart Sukhothai for Chiang Mai

Hotel: Suriwongse Hotel, Chiang Mai (1 night)
May 26 Depart Chiang Mai for Chiang Rai

Golden Triangle

 Hotel: TBA (1 night)
May 27 Depart Chiang Rai for Chiang Mai

Wat Rong Khun

Hotel: Suriwongse Hotel, Chiang Mai (1 night)
May 28 Depart Chiang Mai for Ban Tung Ting

Arrive in Ban Tung Ting

Welcoming ceremony

Stay at school in village, usually in separate common rooms segregated by sex. (4 nights)

Transportation to village will be via school pickup trucks over 4-wheel drive roads.

May 29 Village project and activities
May 30 Village project and activities
May 31 Village project and activities
June 1 Depart Ban Tung Ting for Chiang Mai

Visit Obluang National Park

Arrive in Chiang Mai

Transportation from village will be via school pickup trucks over 4-wheel drive roads

Hotel: Suriwongse Hotel, Chiang Mai (2 nights)

June 2 Sightseeing in Chiang Mai
June 3 Depart Chiang Mai for Kamphaeng Phet

Arrive in Kamphaeng Phet

Hotel: Chakungrao Riverview Hotel, Kamphaeng Phet (1 night)
June 4 Depart Kamphaeng Phet for Bangkok

Visit HIV/AIDS Hospice, Lop Buri

Arrive in Bangkok

Hotel: Marvel Hotel, Bangkok (1 night)
June 5 Depart Bangkok for Ko Samet

Arrive Ko Samet

Hotel: Sai Kaew Beach Resort (3 nights)

Transportation via Speedboat to Ko Samet

June 6 Free Day Optional activity: snorkeling (approximately $50 for 6 hours)
June 7 Free Day
June 8 Depart Ko Samet for Bangkok

Arrive in Bangkok

Transportation via Speedboat from Ko Samet

Hotel: Marvel Hotel, Bangkok (2 nights)

June 9 Free day in Bangkok

Farewell Dinner

June 10 Depart Bangkok for SLC, UT

Arrive in SLC, UT

 Flight information can be found here.